Thursday, May 2, 2013

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Ok, girls!  If you have never made Freezer Jam...you need to try this out!  Strawberry Freezer Jam is seriously so good!  I love making cooked jams at the end of the summer, but for some reason, I really don't like cooked Strawberry Jam but I do love freezer jam!  The first time I tried this was when we lived in Arizona.  I thought I could have died and gone to heaven!  Now it is an annual tradition.  Here are a couple things I love about making freezer jam.  It always seems that we are on just about our last jar of cooked jam when beautiful strawberries come to the grocery store, so I can still have homemade jam through the summer.  Freezer jam is fast and very easy to do as well.  I can start and finish within an hour!  This jam is delicious on pancakes, sandwiches, toast, crepes...you name it!!!

Here's your list for the grocery store:

Strawberries - 2 pints
Sugar - you are going to need 5 cups (I didn't say this was healthy, I just said it was good!)
Pectin - 1 box
Freezer containers - about 5-1 Cup containers


So...let's talk pectin.  There are a few brands out there.  In general, I have used MCP or SureJell for all of my jam making.  They are reliable brands that are easy to find here in Idaho!  For freezer jam, I personally prefer Sure Jell... (sorry the picture is turned...I can't figure out how to change that.  Anyway...here's your picture for reference. 


Inside your box of pectin you will find directions on how to use that brand to make freezer jam, I will follow the sure-jell directions for this post.  I have tried freezer jam with MCP, but I just prefer the way this one turns out.

So...take out your instructions and the packet of pectin.  Open up the instructions and just follow along to make the jam.  Next you need to wash your strawberries.  I just set the package on top of a folded towel and put them right next to my cutting board.


Take the stems off your strawberries and cut in half.  Use the best looking strawberries and avoid using berries that are over-ripe. 
Next you need to mash your berries.  You can do it with a potato masher, but I use my food processor.  Here I differ just slightly from the instructions.  They instruct you to make sure not to puree your strawberries if you are using a food processor, but I pretty much do just that.  I do not like stringy bits of strawberry in my jam (using ripe berries really helps this). I pulse them in the food processor until they are chopped quite fine, like I said...almost purred.  I usually just use the first pint of strawberries in the processor first.  Then measure the amount of chopped berries.  You want to get exactly 2 cups of chopped berries.  This usually does not take the full 2 pints (which is nice because you can be picky about what berries you use).  When you have 2 cups of berries,  measure 5 cups of sugar into a separate bowl.  Then mix the two together and stir the sugar into the berries.  I try to do this until there are no clumps of sugar.  Let the berries and sugar sit for about 10 minutes.  Stir every once in a while. 


If you haven't taken the time to get your containers ready, this is the time!!!  After 10 minutes are up, you will combine the pectin packet and 3/4 cup of water in a small sauce pan.  It will look something like this...



Turn the heat on high and bring the pectin and water to a boil, stir as you are getting to the boil and get a timer set for 1 minute that you can start as soon as you reach a boil.  When it is boiling turn your timer on and stir continuously for 1 minute.  Your pectin will look something like this when you are boiling...


Take the pectin off the stove and add it to your berries and sugar.  Then stir for about 3 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved and there is no graininess left.  Your jam will start to look smooth and shiny!!!  Now all that is left is putting your yummy jam into those containers. Make sure to leave about 1/2 inch of space between the jam and the top of the container so that when it freezes and expands it won't leak out of your container.  The container with the yellow lid will be going right into the fridge for us to enjoy now!

Let your jam get all set by leaving it out on the counter for 24 hours.  Then put it in the freezer to enjoy another day! 

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